The Significance of “Ex-Gay Pride Month”

Chris Doyle, co-founder and President of Voice of the Voiceless

Chris Doyle, co-founder and president of Voice of the Voiceless

Following the closure and apology of prominent ex-gay therapy organization Exodus International, other groups have stepped in to fill the void. The right-wing Family Research Council has launched two new ex-gay organizations, Voice of the Voiceless (VoV) and Equality and Justice for All, and formulated the first-ever “Ex-Gay Pride Month.”

VoV’s mission is to highlight the stories and experiences of “ex-gays” and defend their virulently anti-LGBTQ positions. VoV’s leadership declared July 2013 as a month to advocate for the rights of “former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions, and their families.” This “Ex-Gay Pride Month”  is a direct counter to the annual LGBT Pride Month held in cities across the country each June.

In its official announcement for Ex-Gay Pride Month, VoV declares that “former homosexuals are the last invisible minority in American culture” who suffer discrimination and marginalization by the media and the gay activist lobby. It explains the choice of Washington, D.C. as the center for the ex-gay festivities because it is the only jurisdiction in the U.S. that has recognized “ex-gays” as a protected class. Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is also partnering with VoV in the campaign to increase awareness of the discrimination VoV activists believe is plaguing the “ex-gay” community. Read More

Exodus in the Global Context: “Ex-Gay” Therapy Continues Across the Americas

Exodus_Global_Alliance_logoThis is a modified excerpt from PRA’s 2013 report, The “Ex-Gay” Movement in Latin America: Therapy and Ministry in the Exodus Network, by Jandira Queiroz, Fernando D’Elio, and Davis Maas.

On Wednesday, Exodus International Executive Director Alan Chambers once again created a storm of controversy and media attention by announcing the dissolution of the prominent “ex-gay” organization.

But while supporters of LGBTQ rights and safety can applaud this move, it is too early for complacency or unqualified enthusiasm regarding the death of the “ex-gay” movement. In the United States, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) continues to fight for discredited and harmful “conversion” therapy in California and elsewhere. And the Exodus legacy lives on: here at home, in the form of the breakaway group Restored Hope Network; and abroad, under the auspices of the Exodus Global Alliance, which continues to claim that “change is possible.”

Despite its misleading name, Exodus International is but the North American branch and founding member of what became the Exodus Global Alliance, a network of ex-gay organizations that has expanded across multiple continents since its 1995 launch. Exodus International withdrew from the Global Alliance a week prior to announcing its closure. This investigative report is based on fieldwork conducted in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States, and explores the “ex-gay” movement beyond Exodus International.

In the United States: A History of Controversy and the Recent Schism

“Conversion therapy” emerged in the 1970s as a pseudo-scientific psychotherapeutic or counseling approach to curing homosexual desires, one rejected by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association and today linked largely with conservative Christian practitioners. The rise of Exodus and the so-called “ex-gay” movement parallels the rise of conversion therapy or “reparative” therapy, but it is only one way conservative Christians try to “cure” homosexuality–“ex-gay” ministries and their support groups are the other.

In 1998, Political Research Associates, in conjunction with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Equal Partners in Faith, published Calculated Compassion: How the Ex-Gay Movement Serves the Right’s Attack on Democracy. The report looked at the growing adoption of ex-gay rhetoric as a “kinder, gentler” face to the Christian Right’s anti-LGBTQ agenda, focused on homosexuality as a “choice” that a person could seek help in changing. Read More